The recoverable gas from the country's largest gas field Bibiyana is likely to increase significantly.
A high official of Petrobangla said this on the basis of primary indications from ongoing drilling of several wells at Bibiyana by Chevron as part of its half a billion dollar project to increase gas production from late next year.
If the present indications are confirmed through further analysis and drilling, the recoverable reserve may go up by another trillion cubic feet. “By June next, the American oil giant would be able to confirm the increase,” said the official.
Petrobangla had earlier certified the field to have 7.4 trillion cubic feet (tcf) gas in place, of which 4.2 tcf is proven and recoverable. This is bigger than the last assessed figure of the country's oldest producing field Titas (the reserve of which is currently being reassessed).
The additional reserve in the Bibiyana field comes as comfort for gas-starved Bangladesh that did not have much luck with any major gas discovery in the last one decade.
The field is currently producing 800 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) gas, slightly over one third of the country's needs, and set to gradually increase production by another 300 mmcfd gas.
It would also increase production of condensate, a liquid fuel by-product of the gas, by 4,000 barrels a day which is worth $175 million per year. Such a huge daily production has direct implications on the field's life.
“Roughly, Bibiyana field will start depleting in 2023,” said a high official of Petrobangla, adding that it has been producing gas for the last eight years. But the depletion could be delayed if additional gas is found, he said.
Chevron is currently drilling 11 wells there under a production-sharing contract (PSC). Of these, four wells are drilled to maintain stability of the current production level and the others to increase production.
According to the company, the project progressed by 60 percent till September, which is right on track.
Meanwhile, the government is installing a new pipeline from Bibiyana to Dhanua to transmit this additional gas to the national grid.
“The Bibiyana Expansion Project is a flagship project that will play a crucial role in Bangladesh's energy security for many years to come,” says Chevron Bangladesh President Geoff Strong.
“This is one of the most significant projects in Bangladesh's history. After commissioning, this single project will add 300 mmcfd to the national gas supply, and I cannot tell you how proud I am to be associated with a project that will not only make a significant impact in the nation's energy sector, but will also drive the growth of a thriving economy,” Strong added.
Chevron is deploying up to 1,000 people in this project, 85 percent of whom are Bangladeshis with many of them hired from the local community.
The company has also achieved two million man-hours of injury-free operations at the site. “Safety is at the heart of everything we do at Chevron, and our impressive safety numbers on this project demonstrate the great safety culture where everyone looks out for each other. Given a project of this huge scale, two million man-hours of zero recordable injuries is a lot to be proud of,” Strong says.